Five female members of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force have become the first women to qualify as submarine crew members.
Abe Junichi, the captain of the training submarine Michishio, presented the five women with the “dolphin mark” insignia for submarine crew on Thursday.
The women entered a training school in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, in February and have completed four months of on-board training that started in June.
Petty Officer Third Class Taguchi Yumeka says she is happy she could complete the training with the support of the people around her.
She says she would like to be a crew member who can play a role in expanding job opportunities for women.
The MSDF had previously only allowed men to work on submarines, citing the difficulty of ensuring privacy in a limited space. Its other fleet units have female personnel.
The MSDF has recently renovated some of its submarines to install women-only sections.